INSTRUCTIONS FOR A HEALTHY COMMUNITY OF BELIEVERS
“Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. 13 Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. 14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt 21 but test them all; hold on to what is good, 22 reject every kind of evil. (1Thessalonians 5:12—22)
Paul gave his brothers and sisters instructions on how to live in a community of believers. Paul anticipated that there would be times when relationships in the community of believers would grow sour. Paul gave these instructions, starting with how the community should care for each other;
- To acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord, and who admonish you. They are to be held in the highest regard in love because of their work.
- To live in peace with one another.
- To warn those who are idle and disruptive.
- To encourage the disheartened.
- To help the weak
- To be patient with everyone
- To make sure nobody pays back wrong for wrong
- To always strive to do good for each other and everyone else
- To rejoice always
- To pray continually
- To give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
- To not quench the Spirit
- To not treat prophecy with contempt
- To hold on to what is good and reject evil
This is an excellent list of what Paul deemed necessary for the community of believers to do for one another for the sake of the community. Sometimes we lose the power of practical living because some people don’t think this has anything to do with spiritual life.
However, spiritual life is very practical. It is meant to be helpful and not some practices we do when we go to church on Sunday. It is a lifestyle of a believer. I am reminded that I am responsible for living in such a way daily. I have gotten a hold of this practical encouragement from Paul. But my goal is to be able to live it out daily. There are some things on this list that I can work on to make it a part of my daily life.
I know there are things I do well, but there are many things on this list I need to work on it daily with the help of the Holy Spirit. This list shows me how much I needed to constantly remind myself that to be truly spiritual is to be authentically practical. I am reminded that true spiritual life must be manifested in practice so others may see Jesus in me. I desire to do this daily.
Jesus, I am so grateful for the truth that is in your word. Thank you for reminding me to live my spiritual life authentically and practically so others may see and know you. Please help me to live out your spiritual life in daily practice as I live among the people you have called me to reach out for. Please help me to be that salt and light that you intended for me to be as your disciple in a world that needs you. Help me to be true to these instructions whether I am among the community of your people in the church or whether I am among my neighbors in my community. In your name, Amen!